The newly appointed Findus UK MD Leendert den Hollander has set out his stall to turn Findus into the nation's number one frozen brand within five years and to "reignite growth" in the sector.

The group's former chief marketing officer took the UK reins following Mark Escolme's surprise departure last week. Escolme stepped down after a year in the job to spend more time with his family.

Den Hollander joined Findus in December 2009 from P&G and will lead the UK and Ireland business, including the Young's and Findus brands.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer, den Hollander said he was focused on making the business consumer-centric and offering a point of differentiation. "It's not about what we discuss in the boardroom," he said. "It's about spending time with consumers, understanding their dilemmas and opportunities and focusing on execution."

The perception of frozen food was changing across Europe but there was more work to be done, he stressed. "Freezing food and convenience are not the issue, it's about quality, freshness and variety of ingredients and understanding what frozen stands for. In the past it was all about convenience. We're not going to lose that but it's no longer enough, we want to solve the trade-off."

His appointment follows a number of recent hires and internal moves at Findus UK, including marketing director Tasha Gladman, who joined from Unilever, and ­director of UK category management Leala Francis, who joined from Heinz.

"The recent UK appointments show our appetite and ambition to accelerate growth," said den Hollander. "We felt there was a real opportunity to strengthen the business commercially, particularly in marketing and sales."

"An exciting programme" of NPD was planned for 2011, he added.

"You will never hear me say we're on track, as the biggest disease from a commercial person is complacency," he said. "We have a big ambition and we're all geared up to deliver on that."